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Death to Tyrants!Ancient Greek Democracy and the Struggle against Tyranny$
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David A. Teegarden

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691156903

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691156903.001.0001

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The Decree of Demophantos

The Decree of Demophantos

(p.15) 1 The Decree of Demophantos
Death to Tyrants!

David A. Teegarden

Princeton University Press

This chapter accounts for the successful mobilization in defense of Athens' democracy. It begins by exploring the collective response by citizens in Athens to the coup of the Four Hundred (411), an experience that taught the Athenians important lessons about mobilization in defense of their democracy. Two significant points emerge from that discussion. First, individuals in Athens did not respond to the coup initially because they had a so-called “revolutionary coordination problem”: many wanted to oppose the coup, but, because of the great risk that that involved, each individual waited for others to act before he did. Second, the conspicuous assassination of Phrynichos, a prominent figure in the regime of the Four Hundred, set in motion a “revolutionary bandwagon” that enabled previously quiescent individuals to mobilize en masse against the regime of the Four Hundred. The chapter then examines the consequence of the fact that all Athenians swore the oath of Demophantos. The final section demonstrates that the successful mobilization against the Thirty Tyrants should be attributed, in part, to the fact that all Athenians swore the oath of Demophantos.

Keywords:   Athens, democracy, Four Hundred, oath of Demophantos, Thirty Tyrants

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